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George Seferis: Waiting for the Angel: A Biography

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Poet, essayist, diarist, novelist, and diplomat, George Seferis brought about a revolution in the way people viewed his native Greece. Acclaimed for his thought-provoking lyric poetry, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963. At the same time, he rose in the diplomatic corps to the position of Ambassador to Britain. This biography of Seferis provides insights Poet, essayist, diarist, novelist, and diplomat, George Seferis brought about a revolution in the way people viewed his native Greece. Acclaimed for his thought-provoking lyric poetry, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963. At the same time, he rose in the diplomatic corps to the position of Ambassador to Britain. This biography of Seferis provides insights into his work, life, and country. culture, draws on previously unknown sources to tell Seferis's story. He describes how Seferis occupied key diplomatic positions during periods of historic crisis before, during, and after World War II. He explores Seferis's service as Ambassador to London at a time when Greece and Great Britain were disputing the future of Cyprus, noting that some of Seferis's finest poetry was written about that troubled island. He analyses Seferis's literary production and his impact on Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller, and other British and American writers. Exploring the interplay between poet and diplomat, public and private, and poetry and politics in Seferis's life and career, this book should interest anyone interested in 20th-century Greek literature, culture, or history.


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Poet, essayist, diarist, novelist, and diplomat, George Seferis brought about a revolution in the way people viewed his native Greece. Acclaimed for his thought-provoking lyric poetry, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963. At the same time, he rose in the diplomatic corps to the position of Ambassador to Britain. This biography of Seferis provides insights Poet, essayist, diarist, novelist, and diplomat, George Seferis brought about a revolution in the way people viewed his native Greece. Acclaimed for his thought-provoking lyric poetry, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963. At the same time, he rose in the diplomatic corps to the position of Ambassador to Britain. This biography of Seferis provides insights into his work, life, and country. culture, draws on previously unknown sources to tell Seferis's story. He describes how Seferis occupied key diplomatic positions during periods of historic crisis before, during, and after World War II. He explores Seferis's service as Ambassador to London at a time when Greece and Great Britain were disputing the future of Cyprus, noting that some of Seferis's finest poetry was written about that troubled island. He analyses Seferis's literary production and his impact on Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller, and other British and American writers. Exploring the interplay between poet and diplomat, public and private, and poetry and politics in Seferis's life and career, this book should interest anyone interested in 20th-century Greek literature, culture, or history.

30 review for George Seferis: Waiting for the Angel: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    George

    This is one of the best biographies of a poet available. Not only does it chronicle the life of George Seferis, but it also sets this life within the fascinating (and often ignored) context of modern Greek history.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    The author did as well as he could have done in attacking this biography. It's well written and acts as a near encyclopedic account of the life of Seferis, his family and acquaintances, and the historical context surrounding his life. In that way it acts as a great reference book. However, it should be noted that this biography was published decades after the death of Seferis; it was largely written via primary and secondary sources. So we get a kind of puzzle pieced together, without input from The author did as well as he could have done in attacking this biography. It's well written and acts as a near encyclopedic account of the life of Seferis, his family and acquaintances, and the historical context surrounding his life. In that way it acts as a great reference book. However, it should be noted that this biography was published decades after the death of Seferis; it was largely written via primary and secondary sources. So we get a kind of puzzle pieced together, without input from the man himself. This is worth noting because you get a sense of Seferis, but you don't get a deep dive into his character or true perspective. It also seems like the author was writing primarily from the perspective of Seferis' diary, so we get a lot of detail but there doesn't seem to be any interjection from the author on what was or wasn't important, just a long, year-by-year description of Seferis' life. For some this might be a good thing, but I found many of the passages on the minutiae of Seferis' career, personal life, and Greek politics a bit dry. At times I also found detail about Seferis as poet lacking. We get detail about every facet of his life, but books he published don't get the same attention. There were definitely many helpful comments in this regard, but I still found myself standing at a distance from the writer. This may have been by necessity and a reflection of sources that the author had to work with, but it's unfortunate because this was my main interest in the book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Irini Gergianaki

    Τι να πει κανείς για αυτό το βιβλίο. Προσωπικά λατρεύω τις βιογραφίες και τούτη εδώ είναι μια βαριά, σημαντική βιογραφία του πολυαγαπημένου ποιητή. Πτυχές της ζωής του ανεξερεύνητες, τα πρόσωπα που επέδρασαν στην ζωή και το γράψιμο του, οι οικογένεια, ο έρωτας, η Αίγινα, οι διπλωματικές θέσεις και ό,τι άλλο συνέθεσε την προσωπικότητα του μεγάλου ποιητή ξεδιπλώνονται αργά και σταθερά, με ακρίβεια νυστεριού σε αυτόν το ογκώδη αλλά ούτε μια στιγμή κουραστικό τόμο. Εξαιρετικό πόνημα από τον καθηγητή Τι να πει κανείς για αυτό το βιβλίο. Προσωπικά λατρεύω τις βιογραφίες και τούτη εδώ είναι μια βαριά, σημαντική βιογραφία του πολυαγαπημένου ποιητή. Πτυχές της ζωής του ανεξερεύνητες, τα πρόσωπα που επέδρασαν στην ζωή και το γράψιμο του, οι οικογένεια, ο έρωτας, η Αίγινα, οι διπλωματικές θέσεις και ό,τι άλλο συνέθεσε την προσωπικότητα του μεγάλου ποιητή ξεδιπλώνονται αργά και σταθερά, με ακρίβεια νυστεριού σε αυτόν το ογκώδη αλλά ούτε μια στιγμή κουραστικό τόμο. Εξαιρετικό πόνημα από τον καθηγητή Νέας Ελληνικής και Βυζαντινής Ιστορίας στο King's College του Λονδίνου Ρόντρικ Μπίτον σε μετάφραση Μίκας Προβατά και επιμέλεια της μετάφρασης από τον Δημήτρη Δασκαλόπουλο. «Στις 17 Σεπτεμβρίου, όταν λήγει η άδειά του, ο Γιώργος παίρνει το πλοίο από την Αίγινα για τον Πειραιά, παρέα με τη Μαρίκα. H σύντομη εγγραφή στο ημερολόγιό του για την ημερομηνία αυτή σηματοδοτεί την πρώτη εμφάνιση της δικής του, πιο φολκλορικής παραλλαγής του ονόματός της: Μαρώ. Για περισσότερο από μισό αιώνα έκτοτε, έως τον θάνατό της στα εκατό της χρόνια τον Μάρτιο του 2000, η Μαρία Ζάννου επιλέγει να μείνει δημόσια γνωστή ως «Μαρώ». Εκείνη την ημέρα του Σεπτεμβρίου του 1936, ωστόσο, κάθε ελπίδα για το μέλλον μοιάζει ξαφνικά να συνθλίβεται. Τον Γιώργο τον περιμένει στο γραφείο του στο υπουργείο ένα σημείωμα, όπου του ανακοινώνεται η άμεση μετάθεσή του στην Κορυτσά στη Νότια Αλβανία».

  4. 4 out of 5

    lixy

    Excellent, fair-minded bio of a beautiful though oblique poet, interesting if you want to know more about Greek history-politics from WW2 through the dictatorship.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nick McRae

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chara

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  8. 5 out of 5

    Leonidas Argyros

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christina.Nar

  10. 5 out of 5

    Johny Adamou

  11. 5 out of 5

    Theodore Goutas

  12. 5 out of 5

    Grigoris Vourekas

  13. 4 out of 5

    Apostolos

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nikko

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maria

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andriana Sakka

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bill

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    Biog S453b 2003

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christos Ananiades

  20. 5 out of 5

    Garyfalia

  21. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  22. 5 out of 5

    Constantine Alexander

  23. 4 out of 5

    Μαρία Κλωνάρη

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kosvas

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marinos Pourgouris

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chris Little

  27. 5 out of 5

    Konstantina

  28. 4 out of 5

    Irini

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Desipris

  30. 4 out of 5

    George

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